Mike Shanahan wants helmet-to-helmet hit rules for kickoffs

Larry French

The two-time Super Bowl champion coach wants to see more safety put into the game.

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan thinks there should be penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits on kickoffs, according to the Washington Post.

Shanahan's opinion on the subject was likely swayed by watching Washington safety Reed Doughty, who plays special teams, get knocked out of the game against the Chicago Bears last Sunday on a helmet-to-helmet hit. Doughty was standing still waiting for the onside kick, when Chicago's Sherrick McManis drilled him into the turf with their helmets meeting.

Doughty has since been diagnosed with a concussion. Per the Post:

"I’m going to bring that up at the next meeting because that was one of the most vicious hits I’ve ever seen," Shanahan said. "I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy get hit quite like that – at that speed at 10 yards and Reed just being completely helpless. I think that will be changed for the safety of the players, but that hasn’t been brought up yet. We all want players’ safety first, but there’s a lot that goes into it as we just talked about."

Shanahan says he will be at the next league meeting and plans to talk to others about bringing in new rules to protect special teams players, who are so often at risk of a high-speed collision.

The NFL has taken steps in the last few years to protect players on kickoffs, outlawing the four-man wedge block and moving the kickoff to the 35-yard line to limit the number of returns.

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